Connecting Waterpeople
SWM Bimonthly Nº 10 - November 2021

Water security in Asia and the Pacific – Is the glass still half full?

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Featured content

Content summary

We launch the November-December issue of Smart Water Magazine Bimonthly. In this our last issue of 2021, our cover page features Neeta Pokhrel, who heads the Water Sector Group at the Asian Development Bank. With her, we learn about ADB’s work to drive water security and resiliency in the most disaster-affected region in the world. Interviews are many and strong in this issue, including with Amin Abdel Tawab, segment lead for MEA at Schneider Electric, who discusses solutions to maximize the operational value and improve the environmental footprint of desalination facilities. Antonio Ibáñez, Global Water Practice Director at Minsait, shares with SWM how they intend to manage in an integrated manner the company's know-how of the physical and the digital worlds, through Phygital. But that is not all, this month climate action was front and centre in the news, and if something is clear is we cannot move forward without the involvement of the water sector, both to increase resilience to the effects of global warming and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as Jennifer Jun, Senior Manager International Policy at SIWI, reminds us. And research is underway to help the water sector achieve carbon neutrality, including direct emissions, as we hear from Dr Z. Jason Ren, from Princeton University. Best see for yourselves: find all this and a lot more in Smart Water Magazine Bimonthly 10.


Environmental and social initiatives developed by Aqualia in partnership with NGOs receive funds from IFM Investors’ grant program.

Almar Water Solutions solidifies its position as service provider in Latin America and Middle East.

Hidroconta explains how their technological solutions for water management companies ensure interoperability and system integration.

Environment-friendly submersible pumps by Indar raise the bar of efficiency in Santa Bárbara’s Charles E. Meyer desalination facility.

Miya looks at how performance-based projects can drive organizational change to improve operational and financial sustainability.

Read about the applications and potential for Earth Observation Science (EOS) solutions in the water market, from UK-based Rezatec.

Will Sarni and Prateek Joshi have written a practical guide for the application of AI solutions in the food and beverage sector.


Agustín Ramírez, CEO of Aganova

  • "Aganova’s milestone was evolving from a services company with existing technology to one that develops new technologies."
  • "We are developing algorithms to help us understand the evolution of leaks and anomalies, based on data from different environments."
  • "Nautilus is a system patented in 68 countries and designed for the detection of leaks in large diameter pipes, greater than 250 mm."
  • "Our company’s plans are aimed at turning Nautilus into a standard tool for recurrent use in large diameter water networks."

Amin Abdel Tawab, MEA Zone Segment Director, Water & Wastewater at Schneider Electric

  • "By 2030, if we keep in the same track, we’ll face a 40% global water deficit in an identical or worse climate scenario than currently."
  • "The equation in long-term security of water services provision is local government + service providers + tech partners."
  • "We are clearly seeing a trend of decoupling power from water and relying more on RO desalination as opposed to MSF and MED plants."
  • "Most newly developed desalination plants are connected to renewables and we expect even further acceleration in this direction."
  • "We partner with customers to deploy a step-wise digital transformation that is small and fit to their digital readiness, but ambitious."

Antonio Ibáñez, Global Water Practice Director at Minsait

  • "Phygital is a commitment to the future: we seek to manage in an integrated manner the company's know-how of the physical world."
  • "There is still a lot to do; it is important to have a structured vision and a solid digital strategy to plan activities."
  • "Digitalization makes it possible to reduce operating costs and optimize company’s processes, making it more competitive."
  • "Concerning digitalization, the degree of digital maturity varies from one country to the next, but the challenges are the same."
  • "The technical architecture of systems is important: present and future are phygital and you cannot continue with classic architectures."

José Rafael Jorda, Director of the Commissioning Department at ACCIONA

  • "At the Commissioning Department we do a little bit of everything. We are a multi-purpose department, with different professional profiles."
  • "In all projects, the plant must be operated continuously for a period of time, complying with the expected effluent quality."
  • "The commissioning personnel always work under pressure to finish on time and make up for any delays from previous stages."
  • "The big difference between desalination facilities and other water treatment plants is the reverse osmosis process."
  • "These last two years have been particularly difficult because of the pandemic and the travelling restrictions resulting from COVID-19."

Neeta Pokhrel, Chief of Water Sector Group, Asian Development Bank

  • "Asia-Pacific is the most disaster-affected world region, home to more than 40% of the globe’s calamities and 84% of affected people."
  • "The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role of water security to prevent and respond to future health crises."
  • "Governments and partners need to rethink their messaging, keeping water as one of the drivers of both urban and rural development."
  • Sustainable water and sanitation financing is not just about money; capacity building and awareness will make or break it."
  • We believe that effectively managed non-sewered and on-site sanitation solutions will be the game-changer for Asia and the Pacific."

Jennifer Jun, Senior Manager International Policy SIWI

  • "The climate discussions often centre around technical solutions to reduce emissions, not on how ecosystems can become more resilient."
  • "There are many powerful water-related climate solutions that countries, communities and companies should learn about and start implementing."
  • "We are proud that more than 30 organizations have co-created the Water Pavilion so that the water community is speaking with one voice."
  • "Many water-related climate solutions manage to simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen the resilience of communities."
  • "How one country treats a shared river, lake or groundwater aquifer has implications for their neighbours relying on that same water source."

Dr Bárbara Willaarts, Research Scholar and Scientific Project Manager, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

  • "The water security agenda comes to develop the role of water in meeting the sustainable development agenda of countries."
  • "Rich countries are also water insecure, and this is due to a combination of multiple aspects that include governance and financial gaps."
  • "Our development model and our short-term thinking lays at the heart of the water security challenges we face globally and locally."
  • "Water security is a status, not the end of a journey. Countries have to have a vision and work on the pathways to it day by day."
  • "Technology is one important aspect, but more important is the willingness of decision makers and users to make water security happen."

Dr Z. Jason Ren, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Princeton University

  • "Energy neutrality is not enough, because direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions may account for nearly half of the total emissions."
  • "I was looking for new methods for plant level prediction; the mobile sensors in oil/gas fields can be applicable to wastewater plants."
  • "In many towns and cities wastewater treatment plants are major energy consumers and major non-CO2 greenhouse gas emitters."
  • "New technologies could convert CO2 or CH4 into value-added products to achieve carbon-negative and possibly revenue-positive plants."

Opinion articles

  • Antoine Walter, SBDM Wastewater Treatment at GF Piping Systems 
  • Eric Chanal, General Manager of the Syndicat Intercommunal pour l'Aménagement Hydraulique des vallées du Croult et du Petit Rosne
  • Jaime Barba, CEO of Idrica
  • Julia Machado, Urban Resilience Manager at Wavin
  • Kate Bayliss, Research Associate at SOAS and Senior Research Fellow at University of Sussex
  • Lisa Commane, Ofwat's Senior Director


Schneider Electric
Almar Water Solutions